Before you read this post I would encourage reviewing the starting point of this series. If you have already read it you still may want to review again as I added a little more background and the comments for the first post are great.
While Twitter is the doorway for social conversations, your blog is your house, a place where you can engage in deeper conversations with all that come over to visit. As with all channels you employ for social conversations, your blog should continue to reflect who you are in a transparent fashion, should focus on engagement by avoiding one-way blogging, and should seek to add value to the entire marketplace. In short, it’s not about a rabid focus on selling and shameless self-promotion. If you want that, just buy some air time and run TV or radio commercials.
How do you get started?
There are some great post throughout the web that cover this subject at length. The key points I want you to keep in mind, however, are:
- Work with your IT team to identify a blogging platform that you can bring in-house and maintain yourself. If you do not have the technical team in place, find a blogging platform that allows you to fully customize the look and feel of your content and that provides you with plenty of storage space for images, videos, and podcasts. You may need it.
- If you have branding and user interface guidelines start to use those to determine the look and feel of your blog. Before you go live with any blog make sure it represents the business, don’t do it half way.
- Get a domain name for your blog and work with your IT team, or the hosting provider, to ensure that people coming to your blog will see something like yourcompanyname.com, it’s your name, show it.
- Ensure your blog enables sharing of content, place tools for bookmarking, retweeting, digging, of your content. Make sure your messages are shared with minimal effort on your readers part.
Boring, I want to start blogging
While personal bloggers can “wing it”, your business should not “wing it”. Your social conversationalist, the employee we hired earlier in the series, should pull together marketing and customer support/services to come up with a plan for your blog, a strategy, a series of measurable metrics. Remember, the social conversation is led by marketing and customer service, do not leave them out of this conversation.
Your blog, as we have noted, should focus on adding value to your market place and as such should include this type of content:
- Guest posts by experts in your market. These guest posts should not focus exclusively on how great your solutions are. If your solutions fit the topic, highlight that fact, of course, but make the focus of these posts be on education.
- Include posts from your employees about their jobs. Remember, people connect with other people, not nameless businesses. Put faces to your business so that customers, and potential customers, can make these connections.
- Get your executives into the mix. The executive team should occasionally weigh in, people want to hear from them too.
- Provide reactions to what is happening in the market as it happens. As news about your key personnel, your company, your market, is developing, react to it by providing your insights.
We have set the bar very low by stating you need to be delivering a blog post a week. You should be able to deliver compelling content once a week, if not, why are you in business?
What should you be measuring? For year one of this plan, let’s keep it simple as we will learn more, throughout the year, about what metrics are critical to your business success. However, some simple metrics that should always be paid attention to include:
- Number of posts. Hit those targets I gave you.
- Number of comments. Comments and postbacks provide some insights into your influence.
- Standard web metrics like traffic, time spent viewing pages, etc, should also be measured. You want your blog to be “sticky”, a destination people that people regularly visit.
- Subscribers to your blog via e-mail, through google reader, through any other source you can measure. These are your “fans”, keep them coming back.
- Visitor source. How successful are your other channels, like Twitter as an example, at bringing traffic to your blog.
- Visitor destination. Is your blog leading people into your corporate web site where they can learn more about you, becoming leads. After all, this does come back to helping you generate leads, reducing support traffic, not just about making you a social media rock star.
While there is much more that could be said about your 2010 blogging approach, this will get you started.